Where to Stay in Paris

SDParis › Best Places to Stay in Paris
Updated: May 21, 2021

Our Favorites

• Best Hotel in Paris: Shangri-La
• Boutique Hotel: Relais Christine
• 4-Star Hotel: Westin
• 3-Star Hotel: Chopin
• Cheap Hotel: Welcome Paris
• Family Hotel: Four Seasons
• Hotel Swimming Pool: Molitor
• Near Eiffel Tower: Mercure
• Champs-Elysees: Fraser Suites
• Louvre: Palais Royal
• Notre Dame: Saint Séverin

Best neighborhood to stay for first time visitors to Paris.

Rue Cler in the 7th arrondissement might be my favorite street in all of Europe. It has an almost magical feel. Close to the Eiffel Tower and two metro stations. The Cler Hotel is right on Rue Cler and surrounded by local shops, markets, restaurants, and cafes.

Best Areas to Stay in Paris

There is no “best neighborhood” for visitors to stay in Paris. Since the top sights in Paris are spread around the city center and there’s no “downtown”, much depends on your interests and hotel budget. The single best tip I can give is to stay within a short walk of a metro station. If you are, then getting around the city will be easy.

Paris is divided into the Right Bank (north of the River Seine) and Left Bank (south of the River Seine) and further subdivided into 20 arrondissements. These arrondissements are numbered from one to twenty and, starting from just north of the Seine, swirl out clockwise. This means that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th arrondissements are the most central, with the higher numbers being further out and typically more residential. When navigating, most people will refer to the arrondissement or more specifically the closest metro stop. Street names are almost irrelevant as the majority of them are only a few blocks long or, most confusingly, will change names once you cross into another district.

The central area of the city has safe and walkable neighborhoods that include the most notable restaurants, shopping, tourist attractions, and famous landmarks. My favorite Paris neighborhoods are the Marais on the right bank (in the 4th arrondissement) and Saint-Germain on the left bank (in the 6th). Generally, the left bank is associated with classic architecture and Hemingway haunts while the right bank tends to be hip and trendy.

The best hotels in Paris and the best hotels for families are spread around the central core; no district has a monopoly on quality accommodations.

Paris is one of the easiest cities to get around, even for first-timers. Visitors love the fact that most of the city is walkable or easily connected by a comprehensive and reliable metro system. Taxis are readily available, and there is even a vast network of public bikes you can use.

Paris areas not reachable by foot can easily be accessed by metro. Each metro ride requires one ticket (regardless of distance) that costs €1.80 and you can purchase them from machines found in every station. The machines take either cash or a chipped credit card, have an English language function, and give you the option to buy a book of 10 tickets for €14.10 (called a carnet), which gives you a small discount and is useful if you plan on taking the metro often. The metro trains are extremely reliable, and every station has a real-time display telling you how many minutes until the next train arrives. The 16 Paris metro lines cover all parts of the city. The metro is usually the fastest way to get around to avoid traffic.

Best Places to Stay in Paris

Best romantic hotel in Paris.

Fantastic honeymoon hotel in Paris: Relais Christine

  • Best Neighborhood in Paris for Sightseeing: 1st Arrondissement
    For people who plan to do a lot of sightseeing, stay in the 1st. Many of Paris’s most famous landmarks are in this district, and you’ll be well-positioned to see many others. In the 1st arrondissement alone you can visit the Louvre, admire the beautifully stained glasswork of Sainte-Chapelle, stroll through the Tuileries Garden, and enjoy a glass of wine at one of the quaint cafes lining the garden of the Palais Royale. The Place Vendome, the beautiful plaza where Coco Chanel used to live, is also home to the newly renovated Ritz Carlton, where you can have a drink at the Hemmingway Bar. You’re also within easy walking distance of Notre Dame Cathedral, the Centre Pompidou, Champs-Elysèes, and just across the river from the Musee D’Orsay and Saint Germain. You will have to take the metro to the Eiffel Tower, but the 1st is well connected by metro; the station Chatelet is one of the biggest hubs, serving 5 different metro lines and the train that goes out to Disneyland.
  • Best Neighborhood in Paris for Food and Restaurants: 11th Arrondissement
    The best neighborhood for foodies is the 11th. Located just outside the central arrondissements and with cheaper rents, many of the city’s up and coming chefs have set up shop in this area. Generally catering to a local crowd, prices tend to be more affordable in the 11th where the focus is on relaxed eateries with excellent food vs. stuffy haute cuisine. You’ll find everything here from newly-minted Michelin-star establishments to trendsetting chefs to hip, natural wine bars.
  • Best Neighborhood in Paris for Nightlife: Marais
    Paris has lots of options for nightlife to suit any mood. For great bar-hopping, head over to the Marais. Here you’ll find a diverse mix of everything from secret speakeasies to chic cocktail lounges filled with trendy Parisians. For something a little more lively, the area around Pigalle offers cabarets shows like the Moulin Rouge, concert halls with bands every night, and neighborhood dive bars that bring in a roster of DJs. If you’re willing to trek out to the 13th you’ll have the most unique array of options. From the massive complex that houses Wanderlust and Nuits Fauves to the small docked boats that have been transformed into intimate concert and dance spaces, you’ll find mostly locals frequenting these riverside hangouts.
  • Best Neighborhood in Paris for a Local Vibe: 11th Arrondissement
    The 11th arrondissement captures the spirit of how most Parisians really live. Away from the more glamorous neighborhoods like Saint Germain and the Marais, you’ll find informal bistros, fashionable cafes, hip boutiques and galleries, and lots of local nightlife. The 11th is a blend of younger Parisians near Oberkampf, artists in Belleville, families on the eastern outskirts, as well as an amalgam of the Vietnamese, North African, and Middle Eastern diaspora that calls Paris home.
  • Best Neighborhood in Paris to Stay for First Timer: 7th Arrondissement
    The 7th is the perfect place to stay for first-time visitors to Paris. Home to the Eiffel Tower, notable museums like the Musée d’Orsay, world-class restaurants, some of the most beautiful architecture in the city, and the charming market street Rue Cler, you’ll experience what most people think of when they envision Paris. You’ll also have the benefit of being away from some of the hustle and bustle in neighboring Saint Germain while being close enough to take advantage of its wine bars and jazz clubs.
  • Most Romantic Neighborhood in Paris: Montmartre
    Up in the hills of Montmartre is the perfect place for a honeymoon visit or romantic outing. This neighborhood offers breathtaking views while retaining a quaint, village-like charm. Wander around cobblestone streets or climb its many picturesque hills and staircases. Stroll past ivy-covered townhouses or the vines of Paris’s only winery. Have a picnic on the steps of the Sacre Couer and enjoy one of the best Paris views.
  • Best Neighborhood in Paris for Families: Saint Germain
    Most districts in Paris are great for families but a few stand out. Depending on the age of your children, Saint Germain near the Luxembourg Gardens, the Marais near Places des Vosges, and the 1st near the Tuilleries are all highly central with great playgrounds. All are walkable with access to shops, sites, and restaurants. The 5th, though not as connected by metro but still very central might be another district to consider. You’ll still have access to all the amenities, plus a quieter, village-like feel. Family-friendly highlights include the Natural History Museum and the botanical garden known as Jardin des Plantes. If your kids are a little older, then you’ll definitely want to stay in the Marais. With all the trendy boutiques, galleries, and cafés, it’s great for young adults but still offers lots of cultural activities such as the Centre Pompidou.
  • Best Neighborhood in Paris for Shopping: Marais
    There is something for everyone in the Marais. From chic boutiques filled with local Parisian designers, French chains like APC, international brands like American Apparel, or more upscale shopping, the Marais caters to both men and women at almost every price point. While most tourists head to the Galeries Lafayette, stylish Parisians prefer to shop at BHV (short for Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville). You can find nearly everything under one roof – from tools in their hardware department to the latest Marc Jacobs to an outpost of the Alain Ducasse cooking school. Tourists also get an immediate 10% off when you show a foreign passport.
  • Unsafe Areas of Paris
    Paris is quite safe and generally speaking, the majority of crime that happens is of the pickpocketing variety. There are a few areas that might appear unsafe, especially late at night, and are worth mentioning if you’re not familiar with the city. Certain neighborhoods like Goutte D’or or the areas around the metro stops Barbes Rouchechouart and Chateau Rouge can be unwelcoming at night. Same for the area around Gare du Nord train station – though bustling during the day it can attract an unsavory element after hours. In recent years, there are a few areas of Paris that have become makeshift refugee camps. Though not unsafe, it may appear so and give some people pause. Several sites have sprung up around the city, but a few larger encampments are around the metro Stalingrad, a section near the Colonel Fabian metro station, and at the Halle Pujol market area in the 18th.

The 7 Best Neighborhoods in Paris for Tourists

Where To Stay in Paris, France.

Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa – the best hotel in the Marais district of Paris.

1. Marais

Street scene in the Jewish Quarter of the Marais
The trendiest neighborhood in Paris, the Marais is defined by the hip Parisians who come to eat, drink, and shop in this uber cool quartier. Though the tone of the neighborhood slants towards a younger set, the Marais’s diversity offers something for everyone – from its famed Jewish quarter to the historic Place des Vosges – for visitors who’ve checked off their sightseeing list, the Marais is the perfect place to understand Paris outside of the guidebooks.

2. Saint Germain

The Abbey of Saint Germain in Paris
Saint Germain retains the timeless charm of the Left Bank while buzzing with a lively array of galleries, restaurants, and jazz clubs. From the upscale shops that dot the bustling Boulevard Saint Germain to the aristocratic calm of the Jardin du Luxembourg, this quarter is popular with locals and tourists. This neighborhood typically attracts a well-heeled crowd who come seeking only the biggest names in food and fashion. Though at times the area may feel overrun with tourists, the biggest advantage is that you’ll find many shops and restaurants open in summer while other areas of the city are quiet.

3. Latin Quarter

The Pantheon in the Latin Quarter of Paris
The Latin Quarter is great for those who want a central location with classic Parisian charm while seeking something a little quieter. Find somewhere away from the student hangouts for which the area is typically associated with and you’ll find yourself strolling down cobblestone streets, through leafy squares, and taking in some of the most diverse architecture in the city which includes Roman ruins, gothic spires, and the innovative Institut du Monde Arabe. Great restaurants and wine bars abound in this part of the city as well as the lively market street Rue Mouffetard.

4. The 7th

The Eiffel Tower lit up at night in the 7th arrondissement
The 7th has everything you think of when you think of Paris – the Eifel Tower, the Seine, excellent museums, breathtaking architecture, charming markets, high-end shopping, and world-class restaurants. Its diversity and versatility make it a popular choice for everyone, whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. Visit the family-friendly Berges de Seines and you’ll have a riverfront play area that stretches from the Musee D’Orsay to the Pont D’Alma. Or at night, take a romantic stroll near the Pont Alexander III bridge, one of the most beautiful Beaux-Arts bridges in Paris where you’ll also have a view of the Grand Palais just on the other side of the Seine. Be sure to explore Rue Cler, a charming market street that has a village-like feel and gives you a small slice of Parisian life.

5. South Pigalle

Street scene in South Pigalle, Paris
Tourists who want a local Paris vibe should stay in South Pigalle. Just south of the former red light district, the city’s most up-and-coming destination offers quiet tree-lined streets dotted with fashionable boutiques, cafes, and a thriving restaurant and bar scene. A few tucked away boutique hotels have popped up in recent years, allowing tourists to take advantage of its proximity to the hills of Montmartre and nearby Sacre Coeur.

6. Montmartre

A cobblestone hillside street in Montmartre, Paris
Montmartre’s charm and breathtaking views are the biggest reasons to stay in this part of Paris. Though it’s a bit far from the other main attractions, you can easily reach the rest of the city by metro or explore this neighborhood’s unique history. Away from the touristy spots such as the Sacre Couer, Moulin Rouge, and Place du Tertre, you’ll find quiet cobblestone streets to wander with Avenue Junot having some of the most beautiful houses in Paris or Rue des Saules which climbs past the Vigne de Montmartre (Paris’s only vineyard). The street also connects the Montmartre hilltop with the Lamarck-Caulaincourt neighborhood with several stretches of stairs and its beauty was immortalized by artists such as Cezanne and Van Gogh.

7. The 1st

Statue in the Tuileries Garden in the 1st arrondissement
The 1st arrondissement is a great base for sightseeing. You’re in the heart of Paris with many of the city’s sights within walking distance such as the Louvre, Tuileries Garden, and Notre Dame Cathedral while the Musee D’Orsay and Saint Germain are just across the river. Combined with a fantastic dining scene including some of Paris’s best restaurants like Spring and Verjus, visitors have an abundance of activities to choose from both day and night.

Recommended Paris Hotels

Good hotel with central location near attractions.

The rooftop bar at the Hotel des Grands Boulevards.

Still confused?

That’s my fault. Here are 3 great reasonably priced hotels. You can’t go wrong with any of these places.

  • Hotel des Grands Boulevards – Fantastic 4-star hotel that is 30 seconds from a metro station and walking distance to the Louvre, Notre Dame, and both the Gare du Nord (direct trains to the airport) and Gare de l’Est train stations.
  • Cler Hotel – Great 3-star hotel located in one of the most charming neighborhoods in Paris. Surrounded by local shops, cafes, and restaurants. Walking distance to the Eiffel Tower.
  • Gardette Hotel in Paris – My favorite midrange hotel for families. Nice location in a non-touristy Paris neighborhood (bus still fairly close to the main attractions). Across the street is a nice square and grean area with a kids playground. Several great local restaurants are steps from the hotel’s front door. It’s an easy walk to the Marais and several metro stations.

All Paris Hotel Reviews

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Top Travel Sites for Paris – My Recommendations

Trip planning for Paris, France.

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Kayak is the easiest to use. Skyscanner finds the cheapest rates. Momondo is the best for first and business class tickets.

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Best For Hotels: Booking.com

Awesome rates and great for vacation planning. All price ranges. Luxury hotels, 5-star boutiques, cheap hostels, house and apartment rentals.

Best For Tours: GetYourGuide.com

My favorite for booking tours and private tour guides.

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Compare costs from over 30 insurance providers.

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My Travel Newsletter

  1. Good Affordable Hotel for First Time Visitor

    Thank you for all the extremely helpful travel advice! I am surprising my daughter with a trip to Paris for her graduation (not this summer though due to Covid we are delaying it). I am wondering if you could recommend what are the best neighborhoods for us to stay in that are great for a first-time trip – central, touristy, and very safe (what areas to avoid would be helpful as she gets nervous easily). Our budget is for the lower to moderate range. Her main desire is to see the Louvre, Palais Garnier, Eiffel Tower, visit the cafes and wander around. Any specific areas or hotels would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Welcome Hotel in the St. Germain area is great. Good value and good rates. Walking distance to many top attractions (including all the ones you mention – though metro is an easy option too).

  2. Less Touristy Area of Paris

    Hi, Dave!

    You have an amazing site! Thanks for all your hard work putting it together! I’m trying to plan a week-long solo trip to Paris in either late May or early June. I’ve been to Paris before but this will be my first visit by myself. I’m so excited but also nervous, since I’ll be going it alone! We stayed in St. Germain before & loved it but I do know a tiny bit of French & I love food, so I’m willing to branch out of the super touristy areas. I’m thinking of staying in the 11th but you mentioned a lot of options that sound amazing! Thoughts? And any tips on travelling alone in Paris?

    Thanks so much for your time!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The 11th is a great choice. Less touristy but still an easy walk to the Marais and the central sights.

  3. Interesting Towns Near Paris

    My husband & I are making a trip to Paris in early June. We only plan to stay the last 3 nights in Paris itself to enjoy the city. This is our second visit to Paris, the first one we did the Eiffel, Seine, Louvre, & Versailles. For the first 6 days, I would like to ask what other towns you would recommend we travel to nearby Paris to get a beautiful French experience?
    We welcome nature, scenery, gourmet, wine and foodie experiences. And whatever you may highly recommend. We are good to take 1-3 hours train to other towns nearby and stay 1-2 nights at various places. Looking forward to reading suggestions.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      There are many charming towns within a 1-3 hour train ride. If you don’t plan on renting a car, your best bet is to explore the Loire Valley. It’s known for vineyards and wine, several Michelin starred restaurants, rolling hills, lovely architecture, and chateaux. Amboise is a popular destination with a walkable city center, a few gourmet restaurants, a nice farmers market and a beautiful castle to explore. Parts of the city have retained a medieval feel, which is part of its popularity as well as its connection to Leonardo da Vinci (he spent his last years in Amboise). Many people use it as a base to visit other nearby towns like Blois, Tours and Chambord. Vendome is another option with the Michelin starred restaurant Pertica, walkable city center and stunning cathedral. And if you wanted to travel further out Nantes on the coast is about a 2 hour train ride. There you’ll have great seafood as well as the wine region of Muscadet. It’s one of the bigger cities in France with a more relaxed and artsy vibe compared to Paris. There are also many cultural options such as the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne, Musee des Beaux Arts, Cathedral Saint Pierre as well as the nearby beaches of La Baule and Pornic which are accessible by train. Die-hard foodies would want to make a visit to the neighboring Guerande salt marshes, where the best salt in France comes from, is used by the best chefs and is an important ingredient in French butter.

  4. Cheap Places To Stay In Paris

    Can you recommend some good affordable hotels (2 or 3 stars) in central Paris? We are a couple in our 30s hoping to visit the top sights over 4 days in Paris. We are on a moderate budget.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Paris has lots of value options, so it’s best to choose which area you want to be in and go from there. If you want to stay on the Left Bank (but away from pricier neighborhoods like Saint Germain), opt for the Latin Quarter. It’s walking distance to several monuments, has lively parts like the Rue Mouffetard, and many metro connections to get you around the city. One solid 3 star is the Hotel des Nations Saint Germain. If you’d like to be in a more residential area for a local Parisian feel, you can opt for a little further south and try the bustling but away from the touristsy neighborhood around Alesia in the 14th. It’s a part of the city that offers a normal slice of life and where 30 something professionals and young families live. One choice there is the lovely boutique property Hotel Max. On the other side of the river, check out the Hotel Chopin in the centrally located 2nd arrondissement. Located inside one of the city’s historic galleries from the 1800s, it’s a moderately priced hotel with a lot of charm. The immediate area is touristy (think Hard Rock Café) but the location can’t be beat. If you’re looking for a trendier area with more nightlife and has a more Parisian feel without the higher prices of the Marais, check out South Pigalle. Still a little rough around the edges, this area has a lot to offer in terms of bars, restaurants, local character and value, and a good bet is the Hotel Saint Louis Pigalle.

  5. Where To Stay in Paris with Kids

    I have a family of 2 adults, 3 kids between 10 and 1-year-old. We are traveling in June for 3 nights. This is our first time in Paris and looking at Citadines Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel. Can you recommend which area is better for us for sightseeing? We, of course, want to see the Eiffel tower, but I’d like an area to walk around and take in the architecture and city feeling.

    Thank you!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      If your priority is to take in the vibrancy of Parisian city life, you should opt for the Citadines. The area is charming and feels a bit off the beaten path while still being a 10-minute walk to tons of shops and restaurants. The Pullman is a terrific hotel with fantastic views of the Eiffel Tower, but that part of the city is more residential. The distances to things like the metro, shops, etc are spaced out more which might be harder on young children. Also, if you stay at the Citadines you’ll be walking distance to Notre Dame Cathedral, the Roman ruins in the 5th and Luxembourg Gardens.

  6. Paris and Barcelona

    Hi Dave. My husband and I are looking at Paris for a few days early September while we make our way to Barcelona (September 14th) and are wondering if you had any ideas where we should stay and if you had any suggestions for where we should go on our way to Barcelona? Do we fly to the next town or train? This is our first time in Europe. Any suggestions you have would be great. Thank you for creating this site.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Paris to Barcelona by train takes 6.5 hours from Gare de Lyon (in the 12th arrondissement) compared to 5+ hours by airplane once ground transportation, check-in time, and airport security are included. Two trains per day run year round, 4 trains a day in summer. (A wonderful pre-departure experience is eating at Train Bleu restaurant in Hall 1 of Gare de Lyon.) The Marais is a great area to stay for visitors and fairly close to the station.

  7. Paris Travel in Early May

    We are traveling to Paris for the first time during the first week of May and I’m just realizing it may not be a good time to go because of major holidays. Should we reschedule for another time or will it still be worth it?

    Thank you!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      May is a tricky month to visit, but if your plans are set you shouldn’t be dissuaded. Especially if you’re staying in Paris (vs. visiting smaller towns in France) you should be fine. The big holiday to watch out for is May 1, Labor Day. Many things will be shut down and if it’s a smaller mom and pop shop, many Parisians like to do what they call “faire le pont” – making the bridge or rather turning it into a long weekend. Supermarkets, the metro, etc. will still be open and running, they just might have modified hours or run on a slightly slower schedule. If you have your heart set on any particular restaurants, make sure they’ll be open and book in advance if possible. The rest of your stay should be fine. If you’re still in Paris on May 8 (V-E) day, this is less impactful for tourists and shops will be open.

  8. Best Area to Stay in Paris for Couple

    I have booked a surprise 3 night trip for my wife’s 40th to Paris. We’ve never been to Paris before so I’m not sure where would be best to stay for a special birthday. I’ve found a nice looking apartment but it’s right on the main street at Pigalle metro. However what I’ve read about Pigalle puts me off. I’ve also been looking at Montmartre but have seen mixed reviews of there too. We usually love wandering a bit off the beaten track, ignoring maps and exploring. Can you recommend an area that’d be suitable as a base for a special birthday? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The area around Pigalle is a mixed bag. It’s known as the former red light district and some people would find it a bit dodgy. However over the past few years South Pigalle has emerged as one of the coolest areas in Paris, with a more residential feel and away from all the tourists. There are plenty of safe and lovely areas to wander around especially if you stick to the areas south of Boulevard de Clichy. That said, if you’ve never been to Paris before it’s probably better for seasoned visitors. If you’re looking for something romantic to celebrate your wife’s birthday Montmartre is beautiful with picturesque views and tons of charming, winding streets. The only downside is that if you’re planning to get around Paris by metro, you’re stuck with only one metro line (the line 12) which is fine, but expect to make lots of transfers if you want to see some sights and plan on a bit more travel time since Montmartre is further out. Most first timers prefer to stay on the Left Bank (the 5th, 6th, or 7th) since it’s known for being more central, closer to sights, and has all the typical architecture and charm people associate with Paris.

  9. Where To Stay in Paris in December

    Hi there,
    Am planning a girls’ trip to Paris for my 50th birthday in December. Looking to rent a condo or townhouse for a week. We all enjoy great food and wine, shopping, art. Where would you recommend that has a real Paris feel, but with access to great restaurants and cafes, along with grocery stores or markets and the metro. I was looking at Marais and Eiffel Tower area, but maybe Saint-Germain is a better choice?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I would go with the Marais or something in and around Rue Cler (not far from the Eiffel Tower) – both have a great vibe and feel very Parisian. The Marais is trendier with better nightlife. Rue Cler area more like a little village in the middle of the city. Saint Germain is wonderful and a little more central but also more touristy.

  10. Best Area to Stay in Paris in August

    Hi Dave. Planning a trip to Paris last week of June, first week of August or sometime around then but did read your comment about lots shutting down in August . Have been reading a bit but it all sounds so good so wondering if you can recommend areas to stay. I love food, people, second hand vintage shops, street markets, watching the world go by, bit of a bohemian vibe. I’ll be travelling on my own but like to get in and live like the locals do. Kind regards Sandra.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Marais is my favorite area of Paris and sounds like it should be great for what you’re interested in. Don’t worry too much about everything being closed in August. I do like to warn readers so they’re not disappointed but Paris is still great fun. If it’s your first time to Paris it will likely just seem “normal” – and far from dead or boring.

  11. Staying in Montmartre

    Hello – first time travellers to Paris. I found what I thought was a great hostel in Montmartre (with great reviews). However the travel agent we organised our flights (and other associated things for our trip) has strongly recommended that we AVOID the Montmartre area. I have not seen anything online to substantiate his thoughts. Is this area unsafe?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Travel agents are morons. Montmartre is great – especially away from the main tourist areas.

  12. Trip to Paris and Lourdes

    Hi Dave,
    I just discovered your website and I find it very helpful. I’m planning a trip to Paris with my family of 4 adults in mid-February for 9 days to explore Paris and visit Lourdes for a day or two. My mom is traveling with us and she’s 87 yrs old but still able to walk around without assistance. What is the best transportation for us to get to Lourdes and what area in Paris would you recommend for us to stay? It’s our first time and would like to see most of the tourist spots in Paris. Is it cheaper to stay in an apartment or mid-range hotel?
    Your time is greatly appreciated.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      20 minutes

      If you’re traveling to Lourdes, you have a few options. Since your mother probably wouldn’t be comfortable doing a long distance train ride, it’s best to do a combination of flying and train. There are multiple flights from Charles De Gaulle airport to Toulouse, and from there you’ll have a 2-hour train ride. Or, you can fly to Pau which has fewer flights from Paris but the train ride to Lourdes is only 30 minutes. For first times visitors to Paris, the 7th, the 1st or Saint Germain are all great options. Saint Germain has a bit more charm, but also tends to be more expensive. The 7th has the Eiffel Tower and the charming Rue Cler neighborhood. In the 1st you’ll have easy access to the Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, and Place Vendome as well as better dining options. Parts of it feel somewhat commercial though, so each area has its pros and cons. There is no easy rule for apartments vs hotels in Paris. It really depends on the place (and the rates, of course).

  13. What Area of Paris to Stay with Toddler

    I am planning to visit Paris on a weekend trip (i.e reaching Friday night and leaving Sunday afternoon) from London via the Eurostar train with my wife and 1-year-old boy. We are planning to come in the 2nd week of November. We are planning to see the Eiffel Tower and Louvre museum definitely plus other attractions if time permits. This will be our first visit and we will visit again in the future. Which area you suggest we stay considering a toddler is with us?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Many different areas of Paris would be a good fit but I’d probably suggest the 7th arrondissement, and Rue Cler specifically, as my top choice.

  14. Non-Touristy Area of Paris

    Looking at staying in Paris for 2-4 weeks in May/June. We have stayed before, most recently last year for 5 days in 9th arrondisement and we loved it. Where would be a great area to stay without the tourist sights as we have done these previously? We are mid to late 60’s and love walking, day and night, obviously use metro and buses. Love food, wine, markets. Been to Le Baron Rouge and loved the Marche d’Aligre and the covered market Marche Beauvau. Would really appreciate any ideas or feedback. Still deciding on how long to stay. We have stayed in smaller towns, villages and other cities in France but have never done a long stay in Paris.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      There are many great areas to stay in Paris that aren’t too touristy. The 11th is really popular. With parts of it bordering the Northern Marais, you’re still central enough to walk lots of places while being in an area known as a foodie destination and its low key vibe. If you don’t mind being further out, the 18th/Montmartre is a bit more residential but still close to good transport. Montmartre in general has a village like feel to it and the areas around Abbesses or Lamarck-Caulaincourt are particularly nice. And if you liked the 9th, there are a few different areas you might like. The best is near Rue des Martyrs (a fantastic street known for its food and restaurants) and on Friday nights there’s a good farmer’s market at the park at Anvers.

  15. Paris Over Easter


    We (two adults and a 10-year-old) have an opportunity for a Paris trip, April 20 to 28. Our goal is to eat and bike around and wander through Paris for 8 days (and see a few sights). But April 21 is Easter Sunday and the following day a national holiday. What is Paris like over Easter? Would you recommend stopping off somewhere else on the way (e.g. London or Lisboa) and showing up in Paris on Monday evening?

    Many thanks,

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      20 minutes

      It’s not as dead as you’d think. There are a surprising amount of things open on Easter Sunday, especially in the more touristy areas. Food shops (even the small mom and pop stores) and supermarkets stay open to accommodate people’s Easter Sunday needs. Pastry and chocolate shops, in particular, stay open and they’ll usually do special window displays for the occasion. Some restaurants might be closed, while others will offer an Easter brunch menu. And if you’re traveling with a 10-year old, there’s lots of activities for kids at that time too. The Paris Tourism board has a list of Easter egg hunts, concerts, etc. that are planned for the Easter holiday./

  16. Visiting Versailles and Paris

    I am heading to Paris September 24-27th staying in the Latin Quarter area. This is my first time there and have all the tourist things on my list. Should I visit Versailles on Tuesday or wait and go Wednesday or Thursday to avoid crowds? Is it easy to get around walking and or by metro?
    thank you

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      If you’re not booking tickets or a tour in advance then check the weather on arrival and go to Versailles on the best day. If you are booking a tour then go Tuesday. Getting around Paris by a combination of metro and walking is easy and recommended.

  17. Getting to the Paris Airport

    Hi Dave. Just want to say I’m so thankful to have found your blog. This has really helped me. Quick question. I have an early flight out of Paris at 7am. What will be the most cost efficient way for me to reach the airport? Do I book taxi in advance or just flag one on the street? Any recommendations for taxi?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The most cost-efficient way to reach CDG is by the RER B train. It costs 10.30€ one way and runs frequently. There are two trains that operate – one that makes local stops and takes roughly 40 minutes from Gare du Nord, and one that is an express which will get you there in under 30 minutes. If you opt for a taxi, there are usually taxi stands to catch a cab from and you should look for those first. You can also book ahead through the Taxi G7 website which has an English language page. Hailing a taxi from the street really depends on the area you’re in, with the more central and touristy areas being much easier than if you’re staying further out. Uber also works in France and there is a flat fee of 45€.

  18. Where To Stay for One Night in Paris

    Hi Dave,

    We (4 adults) fly into ORLY at 8pm and depart from CDG at 11 the next morning. What are your suggestions for a very moderately priced hotel near public transportation for easy access to both Paris airports? Also, we’d like a good dinner (not too expensive) in Paris to cap our visit to Europe. Suggestions, please!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Your best bet is to stay somewhere near the RER B train for easy access to both the train that goes directly out to Charles De Gaulle and the Antony station which connects you to the Orlyval shuttle train. The area around the RER B and metro station called Denfert-Rochereau has many reasonably priced hotels, is within walking distance to a few sights, and is a low key residential area popular with Parisian families. If you don’t mind walking a short distance, there is even more choice and commercial activity around Alesia or Mouton-Duvernet. For restaurants, try the Creperie Josseline near the Montparnasse Tower? They have savory versions (called galettes) which are extra hearty since this place is known for their double thick style crepes. It’s good value, a lively ambiance, and not too far from the area suggested. They’re also open later than most restaurants and close at 11:30pm (most Paris kitchens close around 10pm).

  19. Family of 3 Adults Visiting Paris

    I am taking my parents (ages 65-70) on their first trip to Paris in October for 4 days. Since they cannot walk for long periods, I was thinking of staying in the 1st to see the most touristy sights easily – do you know of hotels with large enough rooms to accommodate 3 adults, maybe with a sofa bed? I would like to stay in the same room with them but would need my own bed (although I know European hotels are small). Thanks so much for all of your info!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      As you said, European hotel rooms tend to be on the cozy side and Parisian hotel rooms are probably even smaller. Still, you do have a few options and it’s advised to book as soon as you can. If budget is not an issue, the Mandarin Oriental has large rooms that could accommodate you, as well as connecting rooms. Same with the Westin Paris Vendome. If you’re on a budget, the Tonic Hotel du Louvre is moderately priced and has a triple room and deluxe room that sleeps 3 to 5 people. The Hotel Britannique has either a family connecting room or a junior suite with a bed and sofa bed. You could also try the Hotel du Lion which offers a few large sized rooms as well as apartments. One last tip – try to avoid the very first few days of October if you can. Paris Fashion Week runs from September 24 – October 2 and it is one of the busiest times of the year, with hotels being booked months in advance.

  20. Where To Stay in Paris near Eurostar to London

    Hi Dave,

    My wife and I will be visiting Paris in October this year. We planned to take Eurostar from London. Which area near the train station would you recommend for us to stay? We will be staying 4 to 5 days and would like to see as much as we can during our stay.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Gare du Nord (where the Eurostar from London arrives and departs) is in the 10 district of Paris, so of the nearby areas, your best bets are either Canal Saint Martin or South Pigalle. Canal Saint Martin is cool and hip with a young vibe. Lots of options for great food, bakeries (Du Pains et Des Idees is a must), canalside bars and restaurants. In warmer months you’ll see young Parisians having picnics and BBQs here. It’s a nice area to walk around and you’ll also have great metro access at Republique. South Pigalle, which is one of the more up and coming areas, is also a great choice. Lots of boutique hotels have been opening up around here because it has a cool, off-the-beaten-path vibe. It also skews hip, but you’ll see a mix of young families, professionals, and it’s one of the nicer residential areas of Paris. Though it borders the former red light district, it’s totally safe. Plus the Rue des Martyrs is a fantastic street for food, some cool boutiques, and lots of low key bistros. You won’t have the same metro accessibility as Canal Saint Martin, but you’ll see a more relaxed, less touristy side of Paris and it’s an easy walk to Montmartre.

  21. First Time Paris Where To Stay

    Hi Dave,

    I am traveling for the first time to Paris during the first week of June. It will be my sister, my mother (who cannot walk for long periods of time), and myself. What area would you recommend we stay in? Any budget friendly hotels you would recommend in these areas? Also, this is the first visit for all of us and we are hoping to stay for 3 days but can push it to 4, if necessary. Do you have an itinerary of places that you would say are must see? We are definitely getting tickets for the hop on hop off bus but should we consider purchasing any individual entry tickets for any specific locations? I know that the Hop on Hop off bus limits our time at each location. Anything we should avoid in the more touristy areas or be aware of? Also, what would be the best way to get around once in the city?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      For areas to stay in, the 1st or Saint Germain would be perfect for you with a slight lean towards the 1st. Since your mother can’t walk for long periods, it’s best to stay in areas with a high concentration of sights, restaurants, and shopping. The 1st has the Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Palais Royale, and Place Vendome all within an easy walk of each other as well as being right on the river. There are also multiple points in the 1st for the Hop On Hop Off bus. For budget-friendly hotels, you could try the Hôtel de la Place du Louvre, a solid 3 star. Also the further out you go the cheaper things get so if you’re willing to stay in the 2nd, for example, you can save some money. It’s only an extra ten minutes of walking and you’ll have a lot more options for 2 and 3 star hotels. A charming one in the second is the Hotel Chopin inside one of the oldest covered passages in Paris. There isn’t a specific itinerary of places to recommend – you’re probably already planning to go to the big ones like the Eiffel Tower – but you might want to try to add some local character to the major sights. Maybe try going to some of the outdoor markets like at Bastille or Rue Cler, or the pedestrian street Rue Montorgueil. A popular one with Parisians is the Marche des Enfants Rouge, which is in the Marais and also great for shopping. The Hop on Hop off buses are a great way to get a quick overview of the city and actually cover a decent amount of ground. They do not limit your time at each location however – you just get off at say, the Champs Elysees, spend as much time as you want – and then pick up another bus to continue on to the Eiffel Tower. The only limit is that your ticket is valid for 1 day but there are lots of variations. It’s also worth it to do a river cruise on the Seine and there are many options for those too. In the touristy areas, like in most other cities, watch out for your valuables. One of the most common scams is for someone to come up and ask to sign a petition. And in the metro, which is the easiest way to get around, pickpockets are fairly common.

  22. Best Food in Paris

    Hi Dave,
    My husband and I are traveling to Paris on May 18th through the 28th. We will be staying in an apartment in Marais. We don’t want to miss out on any food experiences. Any restaurants you recommend? Food tours? Best macaroons, baguettes, crepes, cheese and wine. Plan on doing the must see museums and sites. We have tickets to the Eiffel Tower on the 21st for our 35th wedding anniversary. Love music and biking. Thank you for your time. Lisa

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      May is a great time to visit Paris and even better since you’ve bypassed the major holidays that usually shut the city down for the first few weeks of the month. If you’re a foodie, the Marais has some great options. For baguettes and croissants, you definitely have to go to Tout Autour du Pain. They won the best croissant in Paris award as well as placed in the top ten for their baguettes. (After them, a reliable standby is Eric Kayser. Even though it can feel like a chain because he has at least a few bakeries in every arrondissement, the quality is excellent.) The best crepes are also in the Marais at Cafe Breizh. If there’s a line you can do one of two things – either go to the epicerie next door which has a large communal table and the same menu, or go to their newest location in Saint Germain. On Saturdays, check out the Marche des Enfants Rouges which is a fun cross between a farmers market and a variety of food stalls. There’s a little bit of everything food-wise and most stalls have their own tables for dining. For a proper farmers market, you’re also near two great ones – the largest one at Bastille on Thursdays and Sundays but expect it to be bustling and touristy. Or on Tuesdays and Fridays check out the Marche Popincourt. If you’re staying in the Upper Marais, you’re an easy walk to some of the great restaurants in the 11th. This is one of the best arrondissements for the way Parisians eat now – casual vibe, small plates, and natural wines. One that is worth the hype is Clown Bar, but it’s been written up so much you won’t be the only tourists. For a more local version try Aux Deux Amis which is favored by Parisians but has a more hip, fashionista vibe. In the same district you’ve got two excellent must try restaurants – Septime which will be hard to book but worth the effort and Le Chateaubriand which looks completely unassuming but has consistently been voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants. Both have tasting menus at 80 euros and 75 euros respectively which is considered great value for Michelin caliber food. If you want more classic French, then definitely go to Bistrot Paul Bert. The Marais is also known for its bars and two you should try are Candelaria (a taco joint with a hidden speakeasy) and Mary Celeste a hip cocktail bar with oysters and small plates. For macarons go to Pierre Herme and get their signature flavor called Ispahan (rosewater, raspberry, and lychee). The best cheese shop is Laurent Dubois. An excellent wine shop (that does free tastings and wine classes in English) is La Derniere Goutte in Saint Germain. Or if you’re in that neighborhood be sure to check out the Marche Couvert Saint Germain. There’s a great wine bar called L’avant Comptoir or better still pick up food from the market and take it to the terrace of the wine shop Bacchus + Ariane, order a glass and have your own picnic. And for food tours, take one with Paris by Mouth. They have a Marais food tour but all of their neighborhood tours are great. They also have a website with their top Paris restaurants and other practical information.

  23. Paris On a Budget / Great Food

    Hi, I am planning to stay in Paris for 5 nights in August. I plan on seeing some of the typical sites (Louvre, Notre Dame, etc) but I also want some of the local vibes- great local restaurants, cafes, boutiques, etc. I am traveling on a budget so right now I have a room booked at the Ibis Paris Gare de Lyon Reuilly – do you think this neighborhood will suffice for what I’m looking for? If not can you please make a recommendation for a different neighborhood (something budget friendly)? Also, can you recommend any “MUST EAT” restaurants while in Paris? As in, it would be wrong to leave Paris without having experienced this food.

    Thank you,

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      You’re actually in a great area for local vibes and have lots of options. The only tricky thing about visiting in August is that the city (partially) shuts down for most of the month, with even many of the big name restaurants taking a few weeks off. So double check that these places are open. In your immediate area, I’d suggest Le Baron Rouge and Red house for bars with a lively, local vibe. Red House has live music and events, Le Baron Rouge is an awesome wine bar that’s great in the evenings and on Sunday afternoons. They’re known for having huge wooden wine casks that you can use to fill your own empty wine bottles. Next to Le Baron Rouge is the Marche d’Aligre and the covered market Marche Beauvau. Both are cheap places to pick up cheese and charcuterie for a simple lunch. For restaurants, the one you should try to get into is Septime though it’s tough to get a reservation. If you can’t get in, there is a seafood place and wine bar from the same chef called Clamato and Septime Cave. Otherwise, the other great place to go is Bistrot Paul Bert. Excellent French classics like steak frites with bearnaise. That street has become a foodie destination with a nice wine shop, pastry shop and chocolate store. The place to go for chocolate around there is Alain Ducasse. If you’re willing to travel, go to Patrick Roger. If you want a break from French food there is fantastic Italian at East Mamma or Restaurant Passerini. For croissants, you have to go to Ble Sucre and for a classic French cafe go to Le Pure. If you cross the river to the 13th, you’ll discover a lot of cool venues like Batofar which also have outdoor terraces set up along the riverbank. And for shopping, Merci is a boutique popular with Parisians, as is the department store BHV. Near your hotel though is the Coulee Verte which is the predecessor for New York’s Highline. The large arches of the railroad bridge have been converted to beautiful boutiques with 30m high ceilings and showcase a range of French craftsmen.

  24. Hop On Hop Off Bus / Bookstores in Paris

    Hi Dave. I’ll be traveling with 4 people to Paris after London in late October. We have 3 nights to spend here and definitely would want to see all the highlights (if time permits). I’m still searching for our accommodation, after reading your notes, it really helps. My question: Is it worth it to take the Hop On Hop Off tour bus? Or could we just do it on our own? I’m a reader, definitely would want to visit some bookstore. Do you have any recommendation for Paris bookstores that I could visit? I love to collect some local books whenever I travel.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, it is absolutely worth it to take the Hop on Hop Off buses. The nice thing about Paris is that it’s relatively compact, so the bus tours allow you to see most of the major highlights in just a few hours if you’re pressed for time. Another great way to see the city is to take one of the boat tours along the Seine. And do it at night if you can, the buildings are particularly pretty with the way they are lit. For bookstores, the most famous one is Shakespeare and Company right off the Seine. With it’s sunlit upstairs, visitors are welcome to sit and read at their leisure, choosing among a large selection of English language titles. It is a bit touristy though, so if you find it too crowded you can try the Librairie Galignani, the first English language bookshop in continental Europe. Or for something different, you can always try La Belle Hortense, a great bookshop and wine bar.

  25. Staying in Clichy Area of Paris

    I am looking at hotels in the Clichy section, how safe is that area? Would you recommend it. Also, is there an age limit on staying in Hostels in Paris? Thanks!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The area around Clichy is pretty mixed. Since it’s close to some red light district activity, you may see some of that near where you are staying. So it’s safe but some people might not feel comfortable. Also, depending on where you’re staying, there are some big boulevards with lots of traffic so safety might not be as much of a concern as street noise. The closer you can be to South Pigalle, the nicer the neighborhood. Regarding hostel age limits, there are some such as the Auberge International des Jeunes that do have restrictions. You need to be 18-30. But all hostels vary.

  26. Best Shopping Areas in Paris

    Hi Dave
    Thanks for the info its very helpful. I’m taking my mom and my 9yr daughter to Paris for 3 days at the end of April. What are some good shopping areas or stores? Not looking for famous designers clothing or anything fancy.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Normally I’d say the Marais, which has a lot of cool boutiques and French designers. But since you’re with a 9 year old and your mother, they might be a bit too trendy. A solid area with lots of price points and options is the area around Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Not only will you have lots of budget friendly options, the stores themselves are beautiful and practically historic landmarks. In that area you will also see a lot of chains such as H+M and Uniqlo, but there are a lot of great French brands represented inside Galeries Lafayette too. Or another option is BHV, which is the department store most Parisians go to. Tourists get an on the spot 10% off discount if you show a passport or international drivers license, and it will be much less touristy than GL. If you wanted to go off the beaten track a bit, you might enjoy the old passages such as Passage des Panoramas. There won’t be many clothing boutiques, but you’ll find some cool toy stores, antique umbrellas, postcards and art books, all while you’re stepping back in time. And if you did want to see more of the luxury side of Parisian shopping, check out Le Bon Marche or any of the shops along Avenue Montaigne.

  27. Where To Stay Outside of Paris with Free Parking, Metro, Quiet

    Hi Dave,

    My husband and I and his brother and girlfriend will be visiting Paris in the next few weeks but we will only be in Paris for 1.5 days. We will be driving in and therefore want to stay just outside of Paris but with public transport into the city. Where do you suggest? We don’t like a lot of hustle and bustle, something quiet and safe would be great. Also, we will need to do laundry, what do you suggest for that?


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      There are lots of places to stay outside the peripherique, the official border between Paris proper and the suburbs, and defined by a large ring road that encircles the city. The best place would be outside the 17th arrondissement. A very safe, quiet and residential part of the city, the immediate suburbs like Levallois-Perret and Neuilly-sur-Seine are really nice while being close to the Arc de Triomphe and other major sites. Levallois-Perret has the advantage that there are many offices headquartered there so you’ll have a few more choices for restaurants, etc. vs. Neuilly which will be more residential. Neuilly is also considered one of the poshest suburbs. For laundry, there are laundromats throughout Paris. They are called “lavarie” and are much like the laundromats you’d find anywhere else – self service, coin operated machines. Instructions will most likely be in French though.

  28. Where To Stay in Paris First Time

    What area of Paris is best for first timer? We really haven’t planned our stay (late April) but have 3 days in Paris and want to visit the highlights. Prefer to be able to walk everywhere. Is there one neighborhood that makes airport access (CDG) easy? As well as being close to museums, good restaurants, and casual nightlife?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      There are a few neighborhoods I’d recommend for first timers. The 7th is great because you’re close to the Eiffel Tower, great neighborhood restaurants and the charming Rue Cler market street. However some first timers prefer Saint Germain as it’s a little more lively and you’ll have more nightlife options like jazz clubs and wine bars. The Louvre is a short walk across the river as well as Notre Dame. For airport access, you might consider the area around Opera. It’s a major hub for tourists and a drop off point for the shuttle buses that run directly from CDG. There are plenty of great restaurants and you’re also close to all the big department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

  29. Safe Areas To Stay in Paris

    Hi Dave,

    We are 3 couples with 1 1-year plus baby and are planning to go to Paris in May next year. We find it hard to get a safe location because every time we found a good lodging, the location seems dodgy. Also, I read some review saying that near 7th is to be avoided. Any advice? This will be our first time there too.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      All areas in central Paris are safe for tourists and definitely the 7th (not sure what you’ve been reading but it’s wrong).

  30. Best Paris Neighborhood for Family of 4

    Hi, we are a family with 4 (2 sons aged 15 and 18), planning to make first visit to Paris between 17-20 Dec, through London. Like to visit those top tourism places such as Eiffel Tower, the Seine plus spend a day in Disneyland (since this is their 25th anniversary this year). Can you suggest a suitable neighborhood for us to hunt for accommodation via Airbnb?

  31. Paris Nightlife, Bars, and Clubs

    What is the best neighborhood of Paris for nightlife? Looking for bars with draft beer. Also dance clubs. Do most places have cover charge and what time does nightlife start in Paris?


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      There are many options for nightlife in Paris, but for what you are describing I’d suggest the area around Bastille or in the 13th. Rue de Lappe is a fun stretch of bars that cater to just about everyone. There are no cover chrages, no dress code, and it’s a pretty casual yet lively ambiance. It has gotten popular with tourists over the years, but you’re not dealing with bouncers and velvet ropes. Many bars offer djs and music so you can dance, but technically the better dance clubs are in the 13th and mostly located in the complex called Les Docks. There, you’ll have lots of options to choose from such as Wanderlust, Nuits Fauve and Nuba. It might be a bit out of the way for some, so you could also try the area around the Champs Elysee. These clubs tend to be more pricey however, but also more “Parisian.” For example Showcase is a club inside an old boathouse under the Alexandre III bridge with an outdoor terrace on the Seine overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

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